Sega Studios San Francisco (formerly Secret Level) being shuttered after completion of feature-film-based multiplatform game.
Though Iron Man 2 won't even arrive in stores for another month, the fate of its developer has already been sealed. Sega has confirmed to Gamasutra the closure of its Sega Studios San Francisco outfit, previously known as Secret Level.
Secret Level was founded in 1999, when it began work on the critically acclaimed Dreamcast port of Unreal Tournament. The studio was acquired by Sega in 2006 as part of an increased emphasis on Western development.
Since that time, the studio has launched two titles for the publisher. The first was the 2008 movie tie-in Iron Man, which left reviewers cold but sold more than 1 million copies worldwide. Secret Level's encore later that year didn't fare as well, as Golden Axe: Beast Rider was a flop, drawing negative reviews and selling fewer than 42,000 copies in its first three months on US retail shelves. It didn't help matters that the game was launched the same day as heavily hyped hits like Dead Space and Saints Row 2.
It's unclear how many employees were laid off as a result of the studio closure. Sega had already downsized its US operations in early 2009, with reports at the time suggesting as many as 30 employees had been laid off at Secret Level.
@Gooshnads Trueeeeee I miss the days of rareware. the days where they werent bullied into bringing games out before they were ready (perfect dark zero) Rare were epic before microsoft bought em out.
@TheTrueMagusX1 "Little whiny children"? That was quite uncalled for. You're the only whiny child around here.
It's a wonder why Sega didn't close them down in the first place considering Golden Axe Beast Rider is a disgrace to the Golden Axe series. Though it is a shame that the developers are going to lose their job but I'm sure the developers will move on to something else quickly. Iron Man could be better if it was handed to the right developer. @ Darklurkr23 Your wrong some movie games have been pretty decent one of the best I thought was Rockstar's game of The Warriors one of the best movie based games I've played. As for SAW it wasn't that bad it worked quite well as a game.
An Iron Man game has the potential to be a multi million seller if they do it right. I wish more companies would take the Batman: Arkham Asylum approach with other super heroes. Sure, release the game at the same time as the movie to cash in on the hype, but make the game independent of the movie and a great experience all it's own. I hate playing games that are almost identical to their movie counterparts like Spiderman 3, where the game and the movie both sucked
i liked ironman on the PSP and am looking forward to ironman 2 on the PSP or maybe the wii. like zmuggler said lots of open flying around to do and i like all the different upgrades and skins and quick time events :)
Iron Man is superb when performed by original Black Sabbath (with Ozzie, not that ****** Dio). Any other Iron Man is piece of ******!!!
it was difficult to finish,ill give you that,but my girlfriend bought it for me for my birthday that year,and i found it to be actual fun.there s no other game ive played,that gave you so much freedom of flying and destroying and stuff like that.surely not a metal gear,but it worthed my attention.
The 2 games this company made was Iron Man and Golden Axe: Beast Rider? Well I say we're better off without them.
@ Darklurkr23 Actually, X-Men Origins: Wolverine was pretty good. As much as I despise Activision, it was one of the few movie tie-ins that was actually worth playing.
@Darklurkr23 Because there are still idiots in this world who will buy a game because they just watched the movie, regardless of how crap the game actually is. How else do you think Iron Man sold more than 1 million copies? As soon as consumers actually start looking at quality as the primary reason to buy or not to buy, then game companies will either stop making movie games, or they'll start try and put out quality games (Actually, the entire industry would do well with that kind of attitude - just imagine a world where not a single game is rushed... I can dream can't I? :P).
@johnnyjja considering the PS2 is one of the greatest consoles ever, I don't care. I owned both systems and still consider the PS2 the much better console. Don't be a dick.
@HollowNinja Oh so people who donot own Valkyria Chronicles should cease to exist? You know what would be nice? Littly whiny children(yourself included) that make us real gamers look bad to just go away. That would be great!
@ werc96. now that would be funny! but like MOST people, I feel Ironman2 the movie will be great, so that means the GAME will be garbage. it's predictable and 99% of the time true. I think the only people that will buy the 2nd ironman game, are the ones that liked the first one. like 20 people....
Imagine this upcoming turd of a game sells more than 3 million copies...super surprise hit...Then what? lol
@jamyskis Actually, it's three titles in four years. The article says they made three games since being acquired in 2006.
Sega has made great games not named sonic over the past 5yrs. People just the buy them because they don't have the "EA" or "SONY" stamp on them. The only reason they're no tin the console business now is because too many of you sucked on sony's nutsack when you already had a great system with great games to play
that sucks for Secet Level, they dont even get to see their game released as a company, but alas it was bound to happen. Sonic4 will be the first Sega product i buy since the dreamcast, so they've been pretty much non-existant in my household, most of the past few games have been forgettable or just bad
Sega has actually made some really good games that last couple of years, Valkyrie Chronicles, Resonnance of Fate, Yakuza 3, and some others too.It isnt that they dont make good games, its just that a lot of people overlook them.
I bought the first Iron Man movie game for $10 and it sucked so bad it wasn't even worth $10. I couldn't even configure what button does what it gave me craptastic choices. Not to mention the analog stick worked like total cow dung while in flight mode.
The second title looks a lot better then the first. The developers have said they have spent loads of time perfecting things that gamers hated with the previous title. It looked worthy of a purchase if it was at a $40 price tag. I don't feel movie based titles are worth a $60 asking price of most titles on the shelf.
That's not foreboding at all... Firing the team that made the game before the game releases. xD Also, @BRGDZ, lol
I don't know why they really bother with movie tie in games to be honest, they haven't been good for a while now :P
That's pretty sad.. they finish a game then get the boot.. lol.. o.o Well either way, it looks to be way better than that craptastic Iron man 1 game... I'm not getting my hopes up but this is a must buy for me either way, though probably going to regret it when i have it in my system xD
@TongLong Unfortunately the lowest common denominator is what sells. I recently made a comment on the "God of War 3 slays 1 million" article stating that I would rather have Yakuza 3 sell a million so that we would be assured of Sega localizing Yakuza Kenzan and Yakuza 4, and received around 23 thumbs down. People don't care about innovation; this is why quality Sega releases even in the past did not sell all that well (Jet Set Radio and its sequel, for example, were not commercial hits). People want shallow, pretty, quick fixes like MW2 and GoW3, or non-games like Wii Fit. Sega are a business and unfortunately have to make money publishing titles that sell. This means more movie tie ins and rubbish like Mario and Sonic at the Olympics. I don't think Sega have fallen from grace; I simply think that what we're seeing is a reflection of what gamers today really want, which imho, isn't very good.
This isn't a good sign for the Iron Man 2 game. I've heard it was going to be WAY better than the first. Maybe it'll be one last great hurrah from Secret Level. Still, I feel bad for the developers losing their jobs. Hopefully, they'll just get reassigned elsewhere in the company. That said, given the quality of games they've made, it's kind of a mercy killing.
I feel bad for the people loosing their job, but with the games they were putting out is not a surprise.
Sega needs to focus on its RPGs. esonance of Fate deserved better marketing. Don't even get me started on Valkyria Chronicles, if you have a PS3 and don't have that game you don't deserve to exist.
@frazzle00 Dude! I have put my money where my mouth is! Sometimes when I get nostalgic and think back to the Genesis/Saturn/Dreamcast days, I forget about the right now all together. I own Yakuza 3, and, aside from a few other select titles, is the reason I picked up a PS3. I'm not a huge RPG fan, so I'll likely pass on Resonance of Fate, but I LOVE the Yakuza series, and it's games like Yakuza that make me pine for Sega's glory days! I hate seeing them whore themselves out to meaningless movie tie in crap, or junk like Mario and Sonic Olympic junk, but I know they need revenue. It just sickens me when I think back to only a few years ago, and reflect on how far Sega's general output has declined in content and quality. I loved Sega's willingness to take chances with odd concepts (remember Seaman? Samba De Amigo with the maraca controllers? Sega fishing games with the fishing rod controllers)? Crazy Taxi? Rez? Jet Set Radio? I also loved their refusal to support EA sports games on their console, and to innovate their own sports titles, which was ultimately their downfall. I guess the new videogame market panders to people only interested in the same, grey/brown FPS titles regurgitated a million different ways, the same sports titles repeated ad nauseum year after year, and meaningless shovelware based on safe, quickly recognizable TV/movie crap. So much for innovation, individualism, and FUN. :-/
Hold on...if a developer produces just THREE titles in ten years, two of which were critical flops (believe me, Beast Rider was an utter joke) and the third looking extremely likely to be a flop, then it's no wonder that Sega decided to get rid of them. I'm guessing that Sega has seen the Iron Man 2 game and have just given up on them.
Horrible business decision. At least wait until after the game drops. I won't buy new now, until I read if there are any bugs in the game, because you know they aren't going to patch it with the developer being dropped.
@TongLong and Darkeus What about the recently released Yakuza 3 or Resonance of Fate? Both titles are superb, AND published by Sega. Unfortunately it seems that a lot of gamers aren't willing to put their money where their mouth is. If you want to encourage Sega to make more quality titles then you should buy them when Sega does release them. Unfortunately it seems that Sega has better luck selling Mario and Sonic at the Olympics than either of the above mentioned games.
Yo Sega, where's my new Jet Grind Radio? Shenmue? Panzer Dragoon? Rez?... Hell, I'd even take a new Marine Fishing or Crazy Taxi, just bring back the INNOVATIVE, COOL old Sega! *cursls up in the fetal position in a corner, holding on tightly to his Dreamcast, sobbing himself to sleep*
I have the cure for SEGA... Phantasy Star V. Not PSO, not that horrible Phantasy Star Universe. A true, full-blooded, fifth installment of the classic JRPG series with a revamped combat system and new graphics. I tell you now, SEGA would be counting money....
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